My Travel Expirence: Patagonia’s Winter Wonderland

Argentina is a nation that shows the globe a variety of sides. You would be excused for believing you were in Barcelona if it suddenly transferred you to a pavement café in Buenos Aires; Rosario feels vaguely Italian, and perhaps it’s the wine, but Mendoza feels inexorably French.

That’s great up north in the subtropical heat, but as you travel farther south, Argentina changes once more. It feels like you’ve been transported somewhere else once more when you arrive at Patagonia’s breathtaking landscapes a true winter wonderland!

The Winter Wonderland of Patagonia

Although there are differing definitions of the beginning and end of Patagonia, most tourists concur that the little hamlet of Bariloche serves as the entry point to Argentinian Patagonia. Bariloche, which is arguably the nicest small town in Argentina, has the best chocolate stores in South America as well as the appearance of an entire Bavarian or Swiss community that decided to uproot and migrate to South America.

It is well located on the banks of Lake Nahuel Huapi and serves as a great starting point for excursions into the nearby National Park and stunning lake cruises. Let’s say you wanted to travel to Chile while you were in Argentina to extend your vacation. If so, you can also get there from Bariloche; a day’s worth of travel by bus and boat will have you at Puerto Montt, Chile, that same evening.

If Bariloche illustrates how German immigration affected Patagonia, Esquel to the south serves as a reminder of the sheer volume of Welsh immigrants who settled in South America. It was founded by Welshmen in 1865 and is now twinned with Aberystwyth. You can experience some mild cognitive dissonance while viewing things like a typical Welsh chapel against a background of the snow-capped Andes. If you have Welsh ancestry, Esquel and other Welsh centers like Trevelin are must-sees while traveling in Argentina.

However, you must drive further into Patagonia to see the vistas at their true scale. The village of El Calafate, about 1700 miles away from Buenos Aires by road, is widely believed to be the center of what makes Patagonia so unique. Any vacation in Argentina ought to last at least a few days.

The main draw of the destination is the massive Perito Moreno glacier, which serves as the focal point of the Los Glaciares National Park. This massive natural formation is about 20 miles long and almost 100 square miles in size.

Most excursions take you to a succession of platforms opposing the glacier’s “cliff,” which is 3 miles wide and 75 meters high, but sailing up to the glacier’s base on a boat journey out to Lake Argentino is probably the finest way to properly appreciate its enormous size:

The best way to make yourself feel inadequate is to do this!

From El Calafate, you can travel in many other directions, including overland into Chile to see the Torres del Paine National Park. However, incorporating some walking into your Argentina vacations is the greatest way to truly understand Patagonia.

If you want to hike for a few days, go on a serious excursion into the Perito Moreno National Park, or climb Cerro Torre, you have a ton of options from El Calafate.

The town of Ushuaia, located at the furthest southernmost point of Argentina, serves as the starting point for excursions into the Tierra del Fuego National Park. You can even take a boat from this last frontier of Patagonia to Antarctica since it looks out onto the chilly, black waters of the Southern Ocean.

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